SOC 308: Research Project Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

SOC 308: Research Project Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

SOC 308: Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

Students are required to submit a research proposal with an annotated bibliography for their final research project in SOC 308.

Project Proposal Requirements

1. The proposal must be two (2) double-spaced pages in length and include:

  • Issue related to law and morality. This can be a historical issue where we see changes in laws that impact society's perception of the issue; or engage discussions/debates on a contemporary issue in the U.S
  • The issue/topic must be related to the course and course material. The course takes an intersectional approach to law and morality by highlighting how race, class, gender, sexuality, and other forms of inequalities help construct and maintain policies, practices, and societal beliefs. Your project must take an intersectional approach

Annotated Bibliography Requirements

You will obtain and analyze six (6) peer-reviewed, academic journals and (2) community and/or media sources (Total: 8 sources). These sources will provide and deepen your research based knowledge on a course-related topic of your choosing. For each entry, you will write a bibliographic reference using APA format followed by a specific six-sentence annotation.

(Please consult full guidelines in Cougar Courses)


Credibility of Sources

Credibility of Sources

Credibility of sources

Determining credibility of your sources is critical to selecting appropriate information sources for your research assignments. Scholarly journals are regarded as the most credible types of sources because of the rigorous peer review process they undergo.

You will likely consult non-scholarly sources including newspaper articles and websites for general background information on your chosen topic; thus, you will also need to determine credibility of these sources.

Here are some ways to identify credibility:

  • Can you identify the author(s)? If the source is anonymous, why?
  • Can you identify author credentials (education, job expertise)? Can these be verified elsewhere?
  • Is the author affiliated with an academic institution or credible organization?
  • Is there an "About Us" page that describes the organization?
  • Do a Google search for the author's name (enclose in quotation marks) and see what kind of sites come up. Do they seem credible?
  • Does the information have grammatical/spelling errors? 
  • Does it list sources or links to factual information? Are the links updated or do they lead to 404 error pages?
  • Is there a bibliography?
  • Can this information be verified elsewhere?
  • What kind of editorial vetting did the information undergo?
  • Is the research methodology adequately explained?
  • Who is the intended audience for the information? Academics? General public?
  • Is the information appropriate for your research assignment?
  • Does the author present objective arguments or make it clear when they're expressing opinions?
  • Is the website personal or institutional?
  • What other views are expressed?
  • Are there advertisements? If so, how are they differentiated from the content?
  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform? To persuade? To market?
  • What does the URL say about the website? .com=Commercial, .edu=Educational, .gov=Government, .mil=Military, .org=Non-Profit
  • Is the information outdated or up to date?
  • Can you ascertain content's date of creation?
  • Are the links working?
  • Credible websites will display "last updated" dates; working links indicate the website is being maintained regularly.

Source: University of South Carolina, Upstate Library



How to Identify an Empirical Article

How to Identify an Empirical Article

SOC 480: How to identify a scholarly article

To find empirical articles in Sociological Abstracts:

  • Use the "Advanced Search" mode to enter your keywords and include terms from the Sociological Abstracts thesaurus such as:
    • Case Studies
    • Empirical Methods
    • Ethnography
    • Experiments
    • Fieldwork
    • Grounded Theory
    • Interviews
    • Observation
    • Qualitative Methods
    • Quantitative Methods
    • Research
    • Surveys
    • Click "Search"

    • On the left side of the results screen, under "Source Type," you may limit to "Scholarly Journals."

    To find find empirical articles in PsycINFO:

    • Type your keywords into the search boxes
    • Scroll down the page to "Methodology," (in the right column) and select "Empirical Study"
    • Click on the "Search" button
    • On the "Results" page, you can filter by Publication Date and other limiters.

    TUTORIAL: How do I find an empirical article in PsycINFO?

    To find empirical articles in ERIC:

    • Use the "Advanced Search" mode to enter your keywords
    • Scroll down the page to "Document Type," and choose "143 Reports: Research"
    • Select other limits, such as publication date, if needed
    • Click "Search"
    • On the left side of the results screen, under "Source Type," you may limit to "Scholarly Journals."

    If you're still not generating results, add terms from the ERIC thesaurus to your keyword search. These include:

    • Action Research
    • Case Studies
    • Ethnography
    • Evaluation Methods
    • Evaluation Research
    • Experiments
    • Focus Groups
    • Field Studies
    • Interviews
    • Mail Surveys
    • Mixed Methods Research
    • Naturalistic Observation
    • Online Surveys
    • Participant Observation
    • Participatory Research
    • Qualitative Research
    • Questionnaires
    • Research
    • Statistical Analysis
    • Statistical Studies
    • Telephone Surveys



    Using JSTOR and Google Scholar CSUSM

    Using JSTOR and Google Scholar CSUSM

    SOC 480: JSTOR and Google

    Research articles in JSTOR:

    JSTOR is a multidisciplinary database providing access to a wide breadth of scholarship including books, journals, and primary sources. For those of you searching for critical theories related to your angle of advocacy, I recommend giving this database a try. Its search functions are slightly different from the other databases we've covered, so here are some strategies to try:

    • Select Advanced Search (under the Basic Search box)

    Searching JSTOR

    • Further refine by searching against your initial set of results.

    Refine JSTOR searches

    • You may limit to journal articles by checking the "Journals" box; the vast majority of resources in JSTOR are peer-reviewed, including books. However, if you are unsure, check the source of your article (Journal name) and the publisher by doing a simple Google search. If you're still unsure, reach out to a librarian or your professor.

    Research articles in Google Scholar CSUSM:

    • Please remember to use the Library's access point to Google Scholar CSUSM (linked in the heading of this section) to get to full-text articles and other research

    Refining your search in Google Scholar CSUSM

    How do I structure my keyword search?

    How do I structure my keyword search?

    Keyword Search - SOC 308

    Tips on searching the databases

    Here are some general tips on searching for articles for your report:

    Tip Examples
    Use keywords, not long search phrases

    Instead of searching for "How does restorative justice improve academic outcomes?"


    break down your search into the main keywords:

    restorative justice, academic outcomes

    find additional keywords (synonyms, associated terms)

    students of color, discipline, reparation, restorative practices, suspension, alternative schools, zero-tolerance policy

    Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together

    Use AND to combine different keywords

    "restorative" AND "academic outcomes"
    Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords discipline OR punishment
    Look for ways to limit your search in the database You can often limit by type of article (scholarly and peer-reviewed), year of publicationsubject 


    Criminology and Justice Studies Databases

    Criminology and Justice Studies Databases

    Most Useful

    Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
    Sociological Abstracts

    Provides access to the latest international findings in theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and political science.

    Links to full-text via Get-It 1963 to current All
    Social Services Abstracts

    Abstracts of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development.

    Links to full-text via Get-It 1980 to current All
    Social Work Abstracts

    This database provides access to social work and human services journals from 1965 to the present. Topics include addictions, therapy, child and family welfare, civil and legal rights, mental health, education, and human services.

    Links to full-text via Get-It 1965 to current Most

    Contains (EXCEPT for the latest five years) core scholarly journals in sociology, history, economics, political science, mathematics, African-American & Asian studies, literature, humanities, music, and biological, health & general sciences.

    Full-text 1838 to most recent five years Most
    WestlawNext Campus Research

    This is a comprehensive database for news, business, and law-related information has been designed for students. It brings together news databases arranged geographically and topically; newswires as well as business, trade, and professional journals and publications; and law-related resources, including both primary law and analysis.

    Full-text 1789 to current Some
    Oxford University Press Journals

    Provides access to the full text of approximately 168 scholarly journals in a variety of disciplines including life sciences, medicine, physical sciences, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and law.

    Full-text 1996 to current All

    Also Useful

    Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly

    Available via EbscoHost: A comprehensive international database of psychology, covering the academic, research, and practice literature in psychology from over 45 countries in more than 30 languages.

    Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1887 to current All
    Academic Search Premier

    <p>This scholarly collection offers information in nearly every area of academic study including: computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, language and linguistics, arts &amp; literature, medical sciences, ethnic studies, and many more.</p>

    Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1975 to current Most
    Sage Journals Online

    Sage Journals Online includes over 460 journals in Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, Technology and Medicine.

    Full-text current to current All
    Google Scholar CSUSM

    Link to citations and full-text from your CSUSM Library databases and beyond!

    Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It current to current All
    CQ Researcher

    Explores a single hot issue in the news in-depth each week. Topics range from social and teen issues to environment, health, education and science and technology.

    Full-text 1991 to current None
    Women's Studies International

    Includes over 204,000 records drawn from a variety of essential women's studies databases.

    Links to full-text via Get-It 1972 to current Most
    Statistical Abstract of the United States (Proquest)

    The Statistical Abstract of the United States (online edition) by Proquest is a one-volume, comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web.

    Full-text Current Most

    An important index to political, economic, and social issues in current debate.

    Links to full-text via Get-It 1972 to current All
    Project Muse

    <p>Full-text coverage for hundreds of scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics</p>

    Full-text 1993 to current All
    Kanopy Video Library

    Kanopy provides streaming on-demand access to thousands of documentaries, feature and independent films, and training videos. Licensing partners include Criterion Collection, Universal Paramount, The Great Courses, New Day Films, California Newsreel, PBS, First Run Features, Media Education Foundation, Documentary Educational Resources, and others. Kanopy videos can be viewed on a range of devices and platforms including Apple, Android, and Windows.

    N/A current
    Public Policy Institute of California

    This collection of California state policy, research and statistical reports covers subjects such as economic development, education, employment, environment, government/politics, health, housing, infrastructure (transportation, water, etc.), immigration.

    Full-text 1996 to current Some
    Making Of Modern Law US Digital Archive: Legal Treatises 1800-1926

    Commentary on legal proceedings from Anglo-American sources for both legal experts and lay readers including: casebooks, practice manuals, pamphlets, letters, and speeches. Topics include domestic and international law, legal history, business and economics, politics and government, national defense, criminology, religion, education, labor and social welfare, and military justice.  

    Full-text 1800 to 1926
    Making of Modern Law: Trials, 1600-1926

    Trial transcripts and commentary from the US, England and the British Commonwealth. English-language commentary on notable trials in additional nations are included. Selected for historical value, renown, or influence and covering a variety of topics including: adultery, commerce, criminal, constitutional law, domestic relations, elections, impeachment, international law, land, libel, military offenses, murder, slavery, and treason.

    Full-text 1600 to 1926
    Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources

    Over 300 years of legal primary sources, such as early U.S. state and municipal codes, significant constitutional conventions and debates, compilations, legal dictionaries, and materials from the American Colonial period. Note codes are subject-based and experienced continual revision, rather than being issued each year. 

    Full-text 1620 to 1970
    Military & Government Collection

    Provides full text for hundreds of military related periodicals and general interest magazines.

    Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1975 to current Some
    Homeland Security Digital Library

    The HSDL collection provides quick access to important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized resources such as theses and reports from various universities, organizations and agencies.

    Full-text current to current Most
    Duke University Press Journals

    The e-Duke Journals Scholarly Collection includes online access to thirty Duke humanities and social science journals.

    Full-text current to current All
    Ebook Central (formerly ebrary)

    Ebook Central (formerly ebrary) provides authoritative, full-text e-books in a wide range of subject areas along with powerful tools to find, use, and manage the information.

    Full-text current Some
    EBSCO eBook Collection

    Access to a full text collection of over 4,000 e-book titles covering a wide-range of subject areas.

    Full-text 1850 to current Most
    Academic Complete eBooks

    <p><span style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255); color:rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:16px">E-books in all academic subject areas</span>.</p>

    Full-text current Some

    APA Citation

    APA Citation


    Citing sources is expected in scholarly communities and is almost always required in research papers. Scholars cite:

    • to give credit where credit is due;
    • so your reader (professor) can find the source that you mentioned in your assignment;
    • to add credibility to your research - shows you did the work;
    • and to avoid plagiarism!

    Not sure where to start? Review this Flow Chart of the citation process before you continue!

    APA Style

    APA stands for the American Psychological Association. This is the preferred citation style of many of the social and behavioral sciences. Always remember to check your assignment guidelines or ask your professor which citation style they prefer for your work.

    Please note that the seventh edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was released in October 2019.  The American Psychological Association expects students and professors to transition to this new edition in the spring of 2020 or thereafter.  The CSUSM library is awaiting the delivery of the new guides and the transition of other reliable sources to the 7th edition before updating its own citation guide. If you are required to use the 7th edition prior to our updating our APA page, please go directly to the APA's Style and Grammar Guidelines website or contact a librarian directly for assistance.

    Official APA Style Manual Resources

    • APA Style Manual (BF76.7 P83 2010)  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: the most current APA style manual is available at the Kellogg library. Click on the above link to find a copy. 
    • The official APA website  Off campus or need APA guidelines right now? Access the official APA website for citation help by clicking the above link. This site has useful tutorials and up-to-date facts about citing in APA.  


    Helpful Online Resources


    Also Helpful: Citation Generators

    • Zotero  Zotero is a tool for storing citations and generating bibliographies using data collected from the library catalog or websites such as Amazon or Google. For more information on using Zotero, see our Zotero Guide. Always double check your results with citation generators, they are not always perfect!
    • KnightCite Citation Service   This citation generator formats your citations for you. This can be a convenient tool, especially if you have a lot of sources to cite, but it is NOT 100% accurate. ALWAYS check an additional resource like the APA Manual or Purdue OWL to make sure that the citation is formatted correctly!


    Sample Papers in APA format